Tampa City Council discusses what to do with empty downtown buildings

04/19/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:


Today the Tampa City Council discussed what the City could about vacant buildings, that in some cases, are deteriorating in downtown Tampa.


The discussion comes a little over a month after more after 2 such buildings caught on fire on Franklin Street.

Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said more pressure needs to be applied to the owners of such abandoned buildings (roll tape#1 o.q.”not adequate”)


And Saul Sena mentioned 1 particular site for sore eyes in downtown (roll tape#2 o.q.”

Frankly, they need to do something about that”)


(roll tape#3 o.q.”I’ve ever seen”)


Councilwoman Mary Mulhern spoke after viewing pictures of empty lots of areas where historic buildings have already been demolished in downtown. 


Councilwoman Saul-Sena has been on the Board for nearly 20 years.  She says that one reason such buildings have been allowed to fall into such disrepute is because nothing was done by previous Mayors and City Councils.


Curtis Lane is in charge of code enforcement in Tampa.  He said the City is acting against businesses who aren’t maintaining their properties downtown (roll tape#4 o.q.” somebody else will”)   


But Councilman Thomas Scott wasn’t completely satisfied by Lane’s response.  He inquired as to how these properties were being assessed in terms of their property taxes.


Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said another way to motivate property owners is to ask the Tax assessor at the value that they’re trying to sell the buildings for, rather than the value they currently have .(roll tape#5 o.q.’that would be a smart move”)


But that comment was a turn off for Councilman Charlie Miranda.   It smelled like a tax increase (roll tape#6 o.q.”that I’m wrestling with” )


Councilman Scott found it curious that the City’s Code Enforcement is quite vigilant at going after violators in his East Tampa district, but doesn’t seem to possess nearly the urgency to go after such violations downtown (roll tape#7 o.q.”amen”)

 Councilwoman Saul-Sena then suggested that she bring in an economist who has worked on historic preservation who could suggest what the city might be able to do is bring financial incentives to bear for historical buildings located in downtown Tampa.

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